Youth Fishing Derby set for June 2

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 23, 2001

[05/23/01] The Youth Fishing Derby postponed from Saturday after a net containing about 3,000 pounds of catfish was damaged at City Front has been delayed until after this weekend’s bass tournament.

The new date for the derby for children ages 6 to 15 years old will be at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 2, at City Front. Tickets already given out and those available at City Hall, Wal-Mart SuperCenter and the Kings Community Center will be valid on the new date, said Ray Patterson, a spokesman for the Sportsman’s Association of Black Bass Anglers.

“We will come back in with a new net and put it out Wednesday (May 30),” he said. “We will have another 3,000 pounds or so of fish put in it.”

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The fishing jamboree was called off after the net that had been strung at City Front was ripped as the American Queen prepared to dock. The 380-foot-long passenger steamboat was trying to dock about an hour before the children’s derby was scheduled to begin when the 13-foot-deep net set in about 8 feet of water was damaged.

Tom Carman, senior vice president of Marine Operations of the Delta Queen Steamboat Co., said this morning that the stern wheelwash damaged the net.

“The wind conditions were stronger than normal, and more power had to be used,” he said, further explaining that more power than expected had to be used in the docking.

He said the company had not been contacted about damage but would investigate any claims by the City of Vicksburg or SABBA.

Mayor Robert Walker, in a typewritten statement from City Hall Saturday, said the boat’s thrusters had damaged the net and arrangements had been made with the New Orleans-based company regarding the net. He did not say what the arrangements were.

The city announced plans in March to bring the tournament previously held in Greenville to Vicksburg. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 2-1 to spend $40,000 to be a sponsor of the event.

Patterson said the decision to move the Youth Fishing Derby to the Saturday after Memorial Day was made by SABBA officials and the Ole River Bass Club of Jackson because there was not enough time to bring everything together for this weekend.

“The logistics just wouldn’t let us do it,” he said.

As announced earlier, plans call for the event sponsors to supply the fishing gear and bait for the expected 1,500 participants. The youth are being asked to bring ice chests to take home their fish.